The opening day lineup for Xbox One...
The lines have been drawn. The stakes have been set. PS4 and Xbox One will square off this holiday in a battle of pure processing power. While Sony has revealed that the PS4 will launch on November 15th, the folks at Microsoft have yet to share when the Xbox One is hitting shelves. We may not know when it's coming, but we know what we'll be playing when it does!
The 23 games on this list represent the names that will join the shiny new Microsoft system on retail shelves from day one on. There's strong representation from both first and third-party studios, so we can't really go wrong no matter what we choose. Check them out right here!
Assassin's Creed IV
We've known about the fourth adventure in the Assassin's Creed saga for quite some time, but every time we see some new footage, we want to take up arms and storm the high seas. Ubisoft's swashbuckling soiree features fresh hand-to-hand combat (two swords!), underwater treasure hunting, and fine-tuned naval gameplay building on arguably the best part of Assassin's Creed III. Plus, sharks. Will we get to assassinate them? We're not sure, but we hope so. We're so excited to set sail with Edward Kenway and his crew, we've started wearing eye patches into the office and talking like pirates. Send help. Or rum.
The latest round of the annual Battlefield vs Call of Duty throwdown will make its way to the next generation, as both Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts are launch titles for the Xbox One. Battlefield 4 brings fantastic visuals and strong first-person gameplay to an already fantastic franchise while sporting some new gameplay modes. One of them, Obliteration, sees a bomb placed at a random location on a map. Each team must find the one bomb, bring it to the enemy base, set it on a piece of equipment, and detonate it to score a point. It sounds to us like reverse One Flag Capture the Flag, just with an explosive ending. We're ready for it.
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Not to be outdone, Call of Duty Ghosts announced a full revamp of their multiplayer offerings at a depth not seen since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007. No longer will player create classes, they'll create up to ten soldiers and customize them however they please. Each soldier only gets one prestige, but stats are no longer wiped clean, we'll just move to the next soldier now. Also, each map is fully dynamic, susceptible to radical changes through any damage a structure may take. We can finally blow up a gas pump and watch the falling roof crush someone. Add to that a strong single-player campaign, and you can see why we ain't 'fraid a no Ghosts.
The storied players among us will remember a game called Panzer Dragoon, an on-rails shooter with giant dragons and incredible gameplay. We hadn't heard much of anything about the series until recently, when Crimson Dragon was announced for Kinect as a spiritual successor. Using the Kinect, we will once again be a dragon rider, flying through the skies and shooting every enemy we see. Does this mean we're going to be running around the living room flapping our wings like a bird? Perhaps, but it'll be so worth it.
Dead Rising 3
Capcom's open world zombie slasher will shamble its way to the shelves with the Xbox One with Dead Rising 3, and it looks to be the craziest Dead Rising yet. Remember in Dead Rising 2 when you attached the chainsaw to the motorcycle and made yourself one of those deathbikes from the game show? Our man Nick, being an auto mechanic, can now customize vehicles on the fly, bringing the insanity and creativity of weapon crafting to cars, bikes, motorcycles, and more. We're specifically hoping for a car that shoots banana peels out of the tailpipe and blue, shell-shaped bombs from the grill.
FIFA Soccer 14
EA Sports is bringing a strong sports lineup to the Xbox One right at launch, starting with the most popular sport in the world. FIFA 14 makes full use of the new Ignite engine, sporting some of the best visuals any sports game has ever seen. Playing on the pitch is more fluid and realistic than ever, and all of the offline and online modes of previous games will make a return including Ultimate Team. Xbox One will see some exclusive Ultimate Team content called Ultimate Team Legends, where world-renowned players like Pele can be added to your team. We hope Dennis Bergkamp makes it so we can yell DENNIS BERGKAMP over and over again whenever he scores.
We're always a little wary of Kinect-only games (unless they're Dance Central and Kinect Sports), but Fighter Within has us intrigued. We don't have much to go on other than a small trailer and a press release, but it sounds like it could pass for Kinect Street Fighter. We'll be punching, kicking, countering, and comboing opponents via full Kinect motion control, while the characters on-screen will show wear and tear as the fight progress. We just hope Ubisoft hasn't figured out a way to make the player feel each attack from the opponent, because we don't want to deal with that pain.
Forza Motorsport 5
Forza Motorsport 5 is scheduled to go head-to-head with its biggest rival, Gran Turismo 6, this holiday season. However, we expect Forza's next-gen capabilities to give it an edge. The cars jump off the screen as if we're standing on the side of the road, and the amount of cars we can choose is immense. We fear we'll spend so much time picking and customizing a car that we won't get to race it until the next day, all because the spoiler on the back doesn't look right...and we can't decide what color...and do we even want that car? See? We've started already...
Just Dance 2014
Dance Central 4 hasn't been announced for Xbox One yet, so we need something different to help us shake our collective moneymakers. Ubisoft has heard the call, preparing a next-gen version of Just Dance 2014 to help us get our groove on. Katy Perry, Ke-dollar sign-a, and other names you'd expect to hear are on the tracklist, but we're really looking forward to cutting a rug to the Ghostbusters theme song, especially when one of us gets to dance as Slimer. Bustin' (a move) makes us feel good.
ULTRAAAAAA COMBOOOOOOOO!!! After years of asking, wishing, and wanting, Killer Instinct is returning via the Xbox One. Everything we've seen so far resembles the classic KI experience we remember, just revamped and reborn for the current scene. So far we know Jago, Glacius, Sabrewulf, and Chief Thunder are returning, with two more character reveals coming before launch. Orchid? T.J. Combo? Spinal? Perhaps a brand new character? We'll wait and see, but we expect our patience to be hit with a c-c-c-c-c-c-combo breaker
Lego Marvel Super Heroes
The DC superheroes have gotten the Lego treatment, as has Harry Potter, Jack Sparrow, and Luke Skywalker. It was only a matter of time before the world of Marvel was turned into Lego bricks, but we won't have to wait much longer. The great folks at T2 games have their work cut out for them with the Marvel universe, but we're confident that they'll be able to handle it. We'd like to make one tiny request, though...we would love to see Spider-Ham in Lego form. Who wouldn't?
A robot motorcycle that knows martial arts, works as a spy, and uses its human rider as a projectile ...that's what LocoCycle from Twisted Pixel is all about. We're not quite sure what to make of it either, but as one of the first downloadable titles on Xbox One, it'll have a lot to prove. LocoCycle is a racing/action hybrid with plenty of the humor that Twisted Pixel is known for, but this is the first time TP has created a motorcycle that can kick a guy in the face with its wheel. It just doesn't get any stranger than that.
Madden NFL 25
You didn't really think EA Sports would just sit back and let a new console generation debut without Madden, did you? The silver anniversary of the perennial gridiron gauntlet will also be its first foray into the new generation of consoles. The brand new EA Sports Ignite engine allows for ultra-realistic gameplay, incredible visuals, and a high fidelity experience that NFL fans should love. We hope that injuries aren't hyper-realistic though; we're a bit squeamish when knees bend the wrong way or arms dangle after a big hit...
NBA 2K has been the undisputed champion of the NBA video game world for four years, and 2K Sports knows it. However, they're not taking their foot off the gas. On court, 2K14 makes big changes to defense, brings new dribble controls, and packs in 3000 new animations. Off-court, all the usual features return--killer soundtrack, loads of deep modes like My Player and The Association, and plenty of classic teams. One would assume that Live 14 would put a new pressure on the boys at 2K Sports, but we don't think they're intimidated in the least; by putting the best player in the world, Lebron James, on the cover, 2K is saying "we're the best in the world, and we're not going anywhere."
NBA Live 14
Welcome back, NBA Live. After a few years of showing great promise, the NBA Elite 11 debacle hurt the EA Sports NBA game so bad that it went into a four-year hibernation. Now, NBA Live 14 is poised to retake its long lost throne from the clutches of 2K, but it won't be easy. We haven't seen what EA is planning in their return to the hardwood yet, but that's understandable; EA is keeping their cards close to their chest. We're really rooting for Live to make a triumphant return this year, as a healthy competition may make for even better basketball in the future.
Need for Speed: Rivals
On paper, Need for Speed Rivals doesn't sound all that different from previous games: cops chasing cars on the open road, players decide if they want to be a cop or the car fleeing. This time, each side of the law has a bevy of challenges to complete. On one side, evading the police earns Speed Points, which can be used to purchase more cars and items. As a cop, catching bad guys means a higher rank in the force, unlocking better police cars and more powerful pursuit equipment. Oh, and all of it looks beautiful thanks to the Frostbite 3 engine. Will you be the police or run from them?
PopCap Games is making Peggle 2 a launch title for Xbox One, which means only one thing: the lifetime sales of Peggle 2 on Xbox One will be close if not equal to the lifetime sales of the system itself. Who can withstand the addicting gameplay, the fantastic use of classical music, and the FEVER of scoring a huge amount of points? We still play Peggle all the time, so Peggle 2 is a total no-brainer. We may hold off from picking it up right at launch though, as we'll want to play other games too. Peggle 2 won't allow us to do that.
Powerstar Golf, also known as "Microsoft's Answer to Hot Shots Golf," looks to emulate the cartoony fun of Sony's big time golf franchise on the Xbox One. Powerstar does have some original ideas, like giving each golfer a specific power that he or she can use during a round. The Japanese scientist, for example, can use a magnetized ball that will be pulled towards the pin. As we meet more golfers, we'll learn of more powers. If you like cartoony golf like Hot Shots and Mario Golf, Powerstar will definitely fit the bill.
Ryse: Son of Rome
What began as a Kinect-only title has morphed into a action game worthy of the history books. Ryse: Son of Rome brings the Roman empire to life, with large scale battles and slick third-person gameplay, including QTE executions. Despite what the E3 showing would have you believe, the game isn't entirely QTE; only certain actions like finishing moves will work that way. Otherwise it's standard third-person action, which we're sure will make a lot of people happy. We know we're more excited for it now.
Skylanders: Swap Force
The Skylanders franchise is one of the most successful current-gen names available, and it's looking to take that success to the next generation right from the get-go. The newest expansion only features sixteen new Skylander toys, but each one can be split in half and combined with the other characters to make a completely different Skylander. Sixteen figures, 256 character possibilities. That's a lot of new ground to cover. Even with Disney Infinity breathing down its next, Skylanders continues to innovate with new toys, and we're confident that its success will carry over to next-gen.
Having the power of an entire city at our disposal seems too good to be true. Aiden Pearce, however, will be our conduit and Chicago will be our playground when Watch_Dogs finally hits shelves. Hacking ATMs for money, changing street lights for easier passage, shutting down entire power grids...there's nothing this man cannot do when he's connected. It makes us wish we could do stuff like that, although we'd probably cause a whole lot more chaos than we'd anticipate. Perhaps it's best to leave the cyber-espionage to the pro.
Next-gen Zoo Tycoon! The new game promises to give us more control of our zoo than ever before, allowing for full customization and interacting unlike any game before it. You'll have to forgive us, as we're probably more pumped for this than we should be, but the thought of owning and maintaining our own zoo is just too cool. We'd want elephants, monkeys, zebras, lions, animals as far as the eye could see. Oh, and then we'd be allowed to go behind the scenes, feeding and petting the animals to our hearts' content. We Bought A Zoo? Psh, more like We Made The Best Zoo Ever.
Zumba Fitness: World Party
Next-gen gaming is going to feel the Latin beat with Zumba Fitness: World Party, as the wildly-popular exercise system is shimmying its way to the new Xbox. The enhanced Kinect means that capturing the dancers will be more precise than ever, allowing for more realistic readings. For exercise purposes, this could be revolutionary: if Kinect 2.0 is as potent as advertised, it could act as a personal trainer, delivering precise feedback to the software, which can then alter the routine to better suit the player. Should that happen, exercise gaming may grow to new heights, and it will have started with Zumba.
What's YOUR launch lineup?
That's it, those are the 23 games that Microsoft and company will have available when the Xbox One launches this holiday season. Will you karate chop your way through Killer Instinct, burn rubber with Forza 5, or do you have other plans? Let us know in the comments below.